Thing are not working properly at Google in China. Now the head of China Google has resigned.
Google announced that Kai-Fu Lee, the president of Google China and vice president of engineering, will leave the company this month to set up his own venture.
Kai-Fu Lee produced the usual PR nonsense to accompany the announcement: “With a very strong leadership team in place, it seemed a very good moment for me to move to the next chapter in my career." And there are fairies at the bottom of my garden.
Google has struggled to overtake Baidu, China’s dominant internet search company, since it launched. At the same time, Google China has been battling with authorities who want the company to censor its searches and eliminate pornography from its Chinese web results.
Google poached Kai-Fu Lee from Microsoft in 2005 in a move that provoked months of acrimony and threatened law suits between the two technology companies.
He was in charge of Microsoft’s Beijing research and development centre. Microsoft sued Google and Kai-Fu to prevent him from passing on trade secrets to Google.
Google countersued, accusing Microsoft of "a shocking display of hubris", according to court documents. The companies settled privately in 2005.
(Hubris is a splendid word and should be used more often. It means overbearing pride or presumption and can most easily be found in any politician although most academicians follow a damn close second.)
Business Times Online reported that Kai-Fu Lee is a former assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He worked in the field of interactive media software at Apple and Silicon Graphics before opening Microsoft’s Beijing R&D centre in 1998. Which is a pretty impressive resume but hardly seems to suggest the sort of hard faced, hard hitting executive needed to fight Baidu which has the biggest share of the market by far.